We recently got our hands on both the Wii and DS versions of Sonic Colors and while Mr. Maltz handled the Wii version, I took care of the Nintendo DS version of the game. It's not nearly the same thing and was much more simple in its approach. Sonic games haven't exactly been the most impressive over the last decade plus but Sonic Colors DS brings back the old school side scrolling action of the originals with new Nintendo DS twists. So how does it stand up against its predecessors and the other Sonic titles out there? Keep reading after the jump to find out!
Sonic Colors when you first start playing look just like the Sega Genesis versions of the character and world except that they are more vibrant and have some kind of lifelike movement. Most of the Sonic efforts since Genesis have tried unsuccessfully to move Sonic into some kind of 3D realm, such as the Wii version, to mixed results at best and embarrassing ones at worst. Sonic could never make the transition over as Mario and Link and other Nintendo characters did, dooming Sega as their mascot tanked along with the Dreamcast and Sega CD and whatever other monstrosity you can think of. So I really wasn't expecting much.
But what Sonic Team has done here is bring the game back to its 2D roots. The entire game, save the special stages, takes place in a 2D world that looks like a more robotic, futuristic place due to the embarrassingly dumb story that I'll get to later and consists of the standard Genesis Sonic awesome fare like speeding up as much as you can to through loops, over gaps and up walls. The game is all about speed to the point where you feel dumb if you're not using one of the special powers to dash just to get yourself started.
The special "wisp" powers are a new addition to the game. The excuse to put them in the game makes no sense to me since the story revolves around Dr. Robotnik or Eggman or whatever he's calling himself these days trying to make some kind of outer space amusement park and using the wisps with powers to power it or something that I don't understand. It's a Nintendo DS game so I wasn't expecting much in the way of story and got even less. It gets to the point where your brain is being rotted by this and then Tails in the top screen suggesting that a roller coaster with a T-Rex skull will somehow be fun. NO IT'S GONNA EAT YOU DUMBASS! At least this game restored my hatred for Tails. You couldn't have thrown me a little Knuckles? Really Sonic Team? Just a little?
The powers themselves consist of dashing, becoming a rocket, a drill, a fireball, a laser beam or some kind of ghost. They all do add something of a new twist on the classic formula if the drab environments that are supposed to be "colorful" but are actually all gray are bringing you down. They all do pretty much what you'd expect of them except the ghost which for some reason let's you eat everything in your sights. Which is beyond awesome. You predictably have to use these powers to be able to get to certain places and defeat certain bosses. Each area only has certain ones and in one of the few ways the touch screen is utilized in this game, you have to touch a wisp. Some of them don't look very nice to touch though.
The boss fights basically just consist of you running around a 3D circle and figuring out how to hurt a boss and avoid their attacks. They're just trial and error as are many of the more complicated levels and once you figure it out they'll be pieces of cake. The final battle with the artist formerly known as Robotnik involves something of a chase to gather coins and wisps before the ultimate battle where you have to steal the wisps from him and then blow up his amusement park or whatever he has. You just have to figure out how to avoid his attacks and then dash into his face.
Overall Sonic Colors DS is what all Sonic games should be: 2D adventures that occasionally venture from that formula, but as little as possible. It's all about speed combined with the new powers that can make you go even faster. This game really surprised me. I forgot how awesome the old Sonic games were so kudos to Sonic Team for blowing me away with one of my favorite DS titles to date.